Immutability

www.bible.com/72/heb.13.8.hcsb

Immutability is a technical term I picked up in my doctoral studies that basically means “unchanging” or “unchangeable” which what this verse is about. Jesus Christ does not change. Yet, it is also true that Jesus learned.

In Hebrews 5:8 it is said that Jesus “learned obedience” from what he suffered. In Hebrews 2:10, it is said that Jesus was “made perfect through suffering.” From both we might infer that Jesus changed, from knowledge and experience before suffering to knowing what these things are. Immutable means that something cannot be changed, and yet here is One who seems to be changing before ours eyes.

Ok, before you start getting carried away with fears of Bible contradictions, first let’s consider He context of Hebrews 13:8. There, the author gives the warning about remembering the leaders and teachers of the faith. He says “consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” Their Faith was on the finished work of Jesus Christ, whose work and effort is unchanging. The effect of His work is the same for everyone who believes in Him, and so everyone can live a life of of faith because He is the same Lord for all. Ok, that makes sense. But does this mean that the Lord Jesus is immutable, like God?

The fact that Jesus “learned” obedience through suffering doesn’t necessarily mean He changed. From our perspective as human beings, we see Him undergo this change from life to death to life again. We see Him suffering on the cross, following through with the plan designed from the beginning, which He has set out to do since the creation of the world. Nothing actually changed from God’s perspective. Jesus planned to suffer and die at the hands of men since before Adam sinned. That never changed.

What did change was the moment of decision in the garden. While Jesus’s divine nature never wavered, His human nature (which has been undergoing change all his life, from childhood to adulthood) was faced with choices which had the choice to obey or disobey the divine nature. Obedience was learned not in Jesus’ divine nature, which is immutable, but in His human nature. His human nature was tamed by His will to obey His divine nature.

Strangely, it is the same struggle we undergo daily. God equips is with His divine nature through His Holy Spirit, so like Jesus, we can tame our sinful human nature and teach it to obey Divine Will. We too learn obedience just as He did.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Thank the Lord He’s the same Lord today as He was for He Apostles.

God bless!

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Present or Future?

www.bible.com/1713/isa.12.2.csb

What’s next for you? Have you made it yet? Are you coasting to the finish line? Is it all downhill from here? I hope I never find myself there.

In my field, it’s not unusual to go from college to grad school, and not rare to go from grad school to doctoral work. But even to have those initials after your name, it’s still not enough, because you find yourself still yearning to learn. There is a constant need to build upon what you’ve learned, and after each hill you’ve surmounted, there’s still a higher one just beyond. The more you learn, the more you find you don’t know yet.

So while this text on the surface sounds very much like an encouragement to serve God and experience His power in your life, reading a bit before this verse in chapter 11 and then in verse 1 indicates that these are promises to Israel once she has returned to the land and conquered all her enemies and becomes the seat of God’s power on earth. All will look to Zion to find God. Hence the premise of the title. Is this a reference to present reality, or to something in the future? Because in Christ, all that this verse says is already fulfilled. The Lord is our salvation. He is our judge, but also our salvation from judgment. He did this when He took our penalty for sin on the cross.

So do we look to Zion because of a future King enthroned there, or because if a crucified Lord that was risen there? Because I enjoy the benefit of His salvation on account of His resurrection, and that all authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Him. Jesus is the King we have been looking for, not sometime in the future, but now.

Are you waiting for Jesus to be King someday, or celebrating His Kingdom every day? Present or future?

God bless!

A Good Lawyer

1 John 2:1-2
I know it’s probably an oxymoron, especially if you’ve had to deal with lawyers on either side of the bench, but having a “good lawyer” is something most of us need at one time or another. A few years ago, I needed a good lawyer to help me through an insurance situation.
I had been driving up to church on a rainy Sunday morning. On a two-lane highway that there usually wasn’t much traffic on this time of day. I’m a little tired, staying up late the night before finishing up my sermon. My eyes are droopy, so I lean over to turn up the radio. When my eyes return to the road, stopped in front of me preparing to turn left was an 18-wheeler. I was going 55. I had just a few dozen yards to stop, and I pounded the brake. My tires squealed on the wet pavement and my car fishtailed. I finally stopped the car, but not before the front end went under the bumper of the truck. The car was still running, and the damage was primarily to the bumper and grille. But my car door was bent in such a way that it would not open. The driver of the truck got out to check on me. We had the police come and check on us, but I was able to drive away to church, a bit late, but ok. (The car was later totaled out.)
A few months later, I got a letter in the mail stating that I was being sued for medical bills. With a little investigation, the one suing me was the driver of the truck! Suddenly, I needed a lawyer. I called my insurance company and they sent me up to the road to a lawyers office, who asked me several questions about the incident. It was later determined that the driver of the truck was in arrears on his medical bills and that his lawyer recommended he proceed to sue anyone who may have been involved in an accident with him. Hmmm. The case was dismissed.
However, the case against us is much stronger. We stand before God with blood on our hands. We are guilty of sin and the law is clear. We deserve death. But, and this is a very important interjection, we have a GOOD lawyer. We have an Advocate who knows the Judge. In fact, there is an unfair relationship that the Judge willingly exploits for our benefit. The Judge will let us off, in fact will erase our entire record, If we allow Jesus to be our lawyer. This sounds like a no-brainer to me, no thought needed. Ah, but there is a catch. Of course. The catch is you have to live your life as the Advocate continues to counsel us. They may make you think a little bit. But I hope you don’t think too long. There is far too much at stake here. Because if you think rejecting His offer is better for you, there is no one else. The Plaintiff is Satan. He stands before God accusing you of sin. If you do not have Jesus as your Defender, there is no one else. You may think you can stand before God without a lawyer, but there is no defense you can offer, no amount of good you can do that will be enough.
What Jesus offers in your defense isn’t a grad retelling of how good you are, but He intercedes for you, interposing Himself between you and God, asking God to take His righteousness in exchange for you. What we forget that is God’s justice demands payment. Even when Jesus pleads our innocence, He in turn takes our punishment. He did this on the cross.
He offers to you the opportunity to take His innocence, His righteousness as your own. He offers to take your punishment for you, if you will accept it. Believe in Jesus as your Advocate, your “Good Lawyer” before God, your Savior. Repent of the sins which continue to condemn you and “go and sin no more”. Confess before men that Jesus if your Defender before God, the One, Living, True Son of God. Then be baptized into the Church and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit to receive forgiveness for your sins and receive the gift of eternal life.
God bless you today. Please comment if you have any questions!

Fun Friday

www.bible.com/1713/jhn.14.6.csb

Just a quick note for your Friday.

Jesus pretty much lays out the terms here. If:

1) We believe that the universe has a cause, rather than being a random accident,

2) We believe that cause is an all-powerful Being greater than the universe, rather than being a part of it,

3) We believe that All-powerful transcending Being is the God as described in the Bible, and not the gods of other religions,

4) We believe the Bible to be the infallible Word of that God, and not simply the creation of men

5) We believe that Jesus truly is the God-Man, God who became Man to save men from sin, and not a lunatic,

Then:

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through Him.

There is no other way. No other truth than what He gave No other life worth living. No man-made religion, no other path, no other Savior exists to bring man to God. “There is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved”.

Food for thought on a Friday.

You Can Do Nothing

www.bible.com/1713/jhn.15.5.csb

Apart from Jesus, you can do nothing. Little commentary is needed here. As the Vine, Jesus gives life and support to us, the branches. We must remain firmly rooted in the Vine in order for us to have access to that life. Thus nothing that furthers the Kingdom, Nothing that matters can be done apart from Christ. We cannot do His work without Him.

That makes me wonder about the kind of work I am doing. Am I doing something that advances the Kingdom? Does my work means anything? I admit that work can and is often often done without Christ’s involvement. Many people who are not believers do good work. So what is Jesus talking about here?

I think that if you are looking for life-giving work, and not life-sapping work, you need to involve Jesus. If you want to be energized about what you do, you need to involve Jesus, involve His teaching and His grace, His love and joy. If Jesus is not involved, you fee like you are spinning your wheels, running like a hamster accomplishing nothing. Every victory seems hollow and empty. Life has no meaning. Apart from Jesus you really can do nothing, and it feels like it.

Keep Jesus wherever you go. Abide in Him and He will abide in you.

God bless!

The One and Only

www.bible.com/1713/jhn.3.18.csb

There can be only One. So said the Highlander series just a few years ago. Of all the immortals, they had to fight each other to the death (ironic much?) to determine who would be the One. Not sure why that was. It seems awfully selfish to be the only immortal, especially when every other mortal seems like the only people you could actually relate to. Well.

Without the irony, Scripture says that there can be only One Savior. The irony of this verse was that predicted that she would be the One and Only Savior. However, this is based on the idea that He is the only sacrifice for sin, which he had yet to do when He said this. Yet, by the time this story was written down, He had died for all men and become the One and Only Savior. Confused yet? Don’t worry about. Jesus knew he would die for the sins of men on the cross and He believed it so strongly that He spoke of it as inevitable.

Jesus Christ is the only One qualified to be the object of our faith. No one else died for sin as He did. No one else rose from the dead as He did. There is no other name under Heaven by which we can be saved. On Him we all stand or fall. Every knee will bow before Him. Some gladly.

Praise Him.

Evidence

www.bible.com/72/heb.12.2.hcsb

When looking at this verse, I realize that the only part of this verse that can be proven historically is that a man named Jesus from Nazareth died on a cross nearly 2000 years ago. While that seems like a long time ago, it is easier to prove than the exodus of Israel from Egypt or the Flood of Noah.

The rest of this verse depends not only on the crucifixion, but another piece which isn’t mentioned, the resurrection. That too can be proven historically beyond a reasonable doubt. With these two points in hand, what can we say about the others?

Jesus is the author and perfected of our faith. – because Jesus rose from the dead, He is the first to both predict his resurrection but also to fulfill it. While there are other resurrected god stories out there (i.e., Osiris), we actually have historical evidence that His is true. There are a number of eye-witnesses, there documents recording their varied accounts. A number of eye-witnesses, On threat of death, refused to recant their faith in the living Christ. Then there is the Shroud of Turin, whose image was burned into by an amazing heat that cannot be explained by natural means. This One is the author of our faith. He started it by rising from the dead. He perfects it by continuing to work in us today as the living Christ. I can accept by reason that He is alive. I accept by faith that He continues to live and mentor me today.

Jesus now sits at the right hand of God. – This one is harder to prove, but not impossible. In His life in earth, Jesus claimed often to be the Son of God. He performed many miracles which established His power over creation like His Father. When he died and rise again, he established that even death had no hold over him. By these evidences, He has proven He is the Son of God, God in flesh. So it is not much of s stretch to believe by faith, though we can’t see it, that today He sits at God’s right hand, a position of favor with His Father.

Evidence? Far more reliable than the reasoned suppositions offered by others. It is far easier to prove God exists in an ordered, physical universe than to prove He doesn’t. What kind of God He is can be found in the pages of Scripture. While we may not agree with the Christian God, that doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist. I am grateful for a God who loved me enough to save me before I was ever born.

Thank you God.